Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Nutcracker 2011

We made it!  All of the kids' hard work paid off and we successfully made it through three awesome performances of "The Nutcracker and the Mouse King".  My husband and I decided that it was in the best interest of our children to work backstage every night.  We also worked the tech rehearsal and the dress rehearsal.  My husband was the runner (the person who brings the kids to and from the stage) and I was a floater who put out fires wherever needed. With our children's special needs and the controlled chaos of 100+ cast members, it just made sense for us to be available for any issues that may arise.  The following pictures are all candid shots taken by my husband and me while we were working, so they cannot be compared to my professional photographer Dad's photos from last year's performance.

Goldilocks was a toy cat. 

I am told that Goldilocks smiled throughout her dance and that she looked great.  I can't wait for the DVD to come out, so I can see the entire performance.  From the wings, she looked like she had a great time. I did manage to sneak down to the wings and see each child perform at least once.  Social situations can be very hard for this young lady, and she held her own very well backstage with limited cuing.

Tom Sawyer was a sailor
on the Maple Syrup Lake. 

He had several struggles backstage, but overall things went very well.  The DVD player with a constant Star Wars movie going did a prett good job of keeping all the young boy performers calm.  He says he loved being in the Nutcracker but is glad it is over (you and me both, Buddy).  I was able to defuse most issues backstage, but he was still very worn out and over-stimulated by the noise and crowds backstage and pressure that comes with a professional production.

Little Red Riding Hood was a peppermint
in the Candy Castle. 

She loves all things theater and could have done it for a few hundred more nights (her words). She enjoyed herself on stage and backstage and needed almost no support from Mommy.

Timothy was a soldier again this year. 

He had to "die" on stage and then be dragged off by mice.  He was in the adult male dressing room, which although crowded, was plush accomodations.  He even had a chair to sit in some of the time. LOL!


Being backstage parents is hard work.  However, my kids get so much out of this experience:
  • self-confidence
  • relationship-building skills
  • acting lessons
  • perseverance
  • dancing skills
  • overcoming stage fright (although none of mine struggle much with that)
  • patience
  • taking critism
  • dealing with difficult and emotional people and situtaions
  • discovering who they are
  • obeying multiple authorities

My oldest has formed wonderful relationships with the young men and women in this theater.  It is such a relief to see him interacting with such nice young people after many years of having no friends at all.

The babysitting coordinator did an awesome job splitting the kids up this year.  The dressing rooms were still very crowded, as you can see from the picture above.  Howevever, the kids were divided into better ages and needs so the helpers could serve everyone better than last year.
I love to see this guy having fun.

I love the peppermint costume. 
Here is a shot from the back during warmups.

It is amazing watching all of the kids and professional dancers warming up on stage before the show.  Much of the audience is already seated, so behind the curtains the performers must warm up in complete silence.  One of the owners of the studio plays a game of Follow the Leader and all of the kids do what he does.  It is one of my favorite parts of being backstage.
Children including Goldilocks lined up on the stairs
for final curtain call. 

Thanks to everyone's hard work, another great performance is under everone's belts.  I am so thankful for the opportunities my kids are getting with this dance studio (even though I belly ache about the cost and logistics at times).  This experience and dance studio has been a real blessing for all of my kids.

Now, let Advent and Christmas begin!!



  1. I was wondering how it went! I hadn't realized that it was such a huge production. I'm really impressed that your kiddos held it together so well; I felt claustrophobic just looking at the picture of the dressing room! What a great opportunity for all of your kids. I'm so glad that your oldest has formed friendships there. Now, I hope you can all relax a bit!

  2. What a lot of hard work!!! Great job all of you. I loved reading about it and hearing about all the successes! Enjoy your rest now. :-)


  3. Dawn, I just wanted to check and be sure that all was okay. Now I see why you have been so busy!! The recital looks like a tremendous accomplishment, and you're right--backstage is more than a notion. Great job, kids and mom! Blessings to you during this advent.

  4. What a great experience for the kids!

  5. Fantastic!
    Looks like hard work that was well done.